Acts 26Expanded Bible (EXB)
Paul Defends Himself
26 Agrippa said to Paul, “You may now speak for yourself.”
Then Paul ·raised [stretched out] his hand and began to defend himself. 2 He said, “King Agrippa, I am very ·blessed [or fortunate] to stand before you and will ·answer [L defend myself against] all the charges the Jews make against me. 3 ·You know so much [You especially know; or I am especially blessed because you know] about all the customs and the ·things they argue about [controversies of the Jews], so ·please [I urge/beg you to] listen to me patiently.
4 “All ·my people [L the Jews] know about my ·whole life [L manner of life from youth], how I lived from the beginning ·in my own country and later [or among my own people and] in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time. If they ·want [are willing] to, they can ·tell [testify to] you that I ·was a good [L lived as a] Pharisee. ·And the Pharisees obey the laws of my tradition more carefully than any other group [L …the strictest sect/party of our religion]. 6 Now I ·am [stand here] on trial because I hope for the promise that God made to our ·ancestors [forefathers; fathers; C either the hope of the Messiah or the resurrection from the dead]. 7 This is the promise that the twelve tribes of our people hope to receive as they ·serve [or worship] God day and night. My king, ·they [L the Jews] have accused me because ·I hope for this same promise [L of this hope]! 8 Why do any of you people think it is ·impossible [unbelievable] for God to raise people from the dead?
9 “I, too, thought ·I ought [it was necessary] to do many things against [L the name of] Jesus ·from Nazareth [or the Nazarene]. 10 And that is what I did in Jerusalem. The ·leading [T chief] priests gave me the ·power [authority] to put many of ·God’s people [God’s holy people; the saints] in ·jail [prison], and when they were ·being killed [or condemned to die], I ·agreed it was a good thing [L cast my vote against them]. 11 In every synagogue, I often punished them and tried to make them ·speak against [blaspheme; curse] Jesus. I was so ·angry [enraged] against them I even went to ·other [or foreign] cities to ·find them and punish [pursue; or persecute] them.
12 “One time the ·leading [T chief] priests gave me ·permission [commission] and the ·power [authority] to go to Damascus. 13 On the ·way [road] there, at noon, [L O king,] I saw a light from heaven. It was brighter than the sun and ·flashed [shone] all around me and those who were traveling with me. 14 We all fell to the ground. Then I heard a voice speaking to me in the Hebrew language [C probably Aramaic, the common language of the people in that area; 21:40], saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? ·You are only hurting yourself by fighting me [L It is hard for you to kick against the goads; Eccl. 12:11; C a goad was a sharp instrument to herd cattle].’ 15 I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. 16 ·Stand up [L Get up and stand on your feet]! This is why I have come [appeared] to you today: I have ·chosen [appointed] you to be my servant and my witness—you will tell people the things that you have seen and the things that I will show you. 17 I will ·keep you safe [rescue you] from your own people and also from the ·Gentiles [nations]. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn away from darkness to the light, away from the ·power [or authority] of Satan and to God. ·Then [or …so that] their sins can be forgiven, and they can have a place with those people who have been ·made holy [sanctified] by ·believing [faith] in me.’
19 “[L So; Therefore] King Agrippa, after I had this vision from heaven, I ·obeyed [L was not disobedient to] it. 20 [Indeed; or On the contrary] I began telling people that they should ·change their hearts and lives and turn to God [repent] and do ·things [works] ·to show they really had changed [L worthy of repentance]. I told this first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem, and ·in every part [all throughout the countryside] of Judea, and also to ·people everywhere [L the Gentiles; the nations]. 21 This is why the Jews ·took [seized] me and were trying to kill me in the Temple [C courts; 2:46]. 22 But God has helped me [from that day until now; L until this day], and so I stand here today, ·telling [testifying/witnessing to] all people, small and great, what I have seen. But I am saying only what the prophets and Moses [C meaning the whole OT] said would happen— 23 that the ·Christ [Messiah; C the promised king and Savior] would ·die [L suffer; 3:17; 17:3], and as the first to rise from the dead, he would ·bring [L proclaim] light to his own people [C the Jews] and to ·the Gentiles [the nations; people everywhere].”
Paul Tries to Persuade Agrippa
24 While Paul was saying these things to defend himself, Festus said loudly, “Paul, you are ·out of your mind [insane]! Too much ·study [learning] has driven you ·crazy [insane; mad]!”
25 Paul said, “Most excellent Festus, I am not crazy. My words are true and ·sensible [sober; rational]. 26 [L For] ·King Agrippa [L The king] knows about these things, and I can speak ·freely [boldly] to him. [L For] I ·know [L am convinced/persuaded] ·he has heard about all of these things [L none of these things were hidden from him], because they did not happen off in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe ·what the prophets wrote [L the prophets]? I know you believe.”
28 King Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian in such a short time? [or In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian!]”
29 Paul said, “Whether it is a short or a long time, I pray to God that not only you but every person listening to me today ·would be saved and be [L might become] like me—except for these chains I have.”
30 Then ·King Agrippa [L the king], ·Governor Festus [L the governor], Bernice, and all the people sitting with them stood up 31 and left the room. Talking to each other, they said, “This man has done nothing ·that deserves [worthy of] death or ·imprisonment [chains].” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “We could let this man go free, ·but he has [L if he had not] ·asked Caesar to hear his case [L appealed to Caesar].”
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